Thursday, August 30, 2007

Daily Life

My cousin's wife recently e-mailed me asking about how our day runs and how we fit in activities for the kids, company for dinner, and life with a newborn. This was my reply, for anyone who cares. You may find somethings that will help you or you may just be able to relate. Or, for my single friends, you may find reasons to rejoice in this stage of your life! Either way, feel free to criticize or make suggestions. The comment line is always open!

As you know, organization is the key with a large family. If I don't have some sort of schedule - we might as well chuck the whole day!

6:30 - up, dress, chores, read Bible for 15 minutes

7:30 - breakfast - if a child does not have their chores done or their room isn't cleaned up by this time they don't get breakfast - just a cup of milk so there is something in their stomach

8:00 - by this time, they are washed up from breakfast and teeth are brushed. If not, discipline action is taken (so far, this year, so good). We sing some songs from the hymnal. What we normally do is have each of the 3 oldest pick a song on Monday that they don't know real well and we sing it all week long. Makes it easier for them to join the worship on Sundays and Wednesdays. Katrina and Seth also get to pick a different song each day (usually a Sunday School type - B-I-B-L-E, "the Goliath one", Jesus Loves Me, etc). After that, we read one chapter in the NT together - currently we're in II Corinthians. We go around the room reading out loud. Some days we pray and some we go over the memory verse for church.

8:30 - school begins. Each child begins with Bible and then they are allowed to decide from there what classes they'll watch and when. I do have class assignments for each day, but they can determine what order they'll do them. Once they finish a class, they have to show me their finished assignment before they go on to the next class. If there are any corrections to be made, they do them immediately. They are then COMPLETELY done with the lesson and go on to the next subject. Works better for us that way.

12:00 - lunch and clean-up. I've found, lately, that I'VE been spending MUCH of the day cleaning up from meals. We are now sharing the load. I get the meals and they need to wash down the table and sweep - they're the ones that make the mess.

After lunch - finish school. As it's early in the year, I'm not sure when school will normally finish. But, I'm thinking 2 or 3:00 is reasonable. Don't ask about today - I'm hoping to get amnesia!

My only and continuous complaint is the lack of time with the little ones. I feel like they're constantly being shushed and moved out of the way. It is the beginning of the school year, so we're still working out the kinks. Video school makes it easier, but with a child who has his learning challenges, a lot of my time is taken with him. However, if this year is like last, he'll get the hang of it and then the days that he requires 90% of my time will be fewer and farther between. This next week or 2 (or 3...) - just pray for us!!!

With Zane, having a newborn is not too big a deal. He's so easy going. Having him at the end of June and having time to adjust before school started was a HUGE help! He now eats every 3 1/2 hours instead of every 3 (for the most part) which also frees up some time. I try to make it so he won't need to eat during critical points of our day (i.e. Breakfast, Bible time, lunch).

Laundry is my life. I have a TON of that. Washing and drying is a cinch. Someone needs to invent a machine that will iron and fold it. I have kids who put their own stuff away (I hesitate to open their drawers, however), so that's ok.

My bill paying has taken a back seat.

I love Menu 4 Moms - that is a weekly e-mail I get that gives a menu for every day of the upcoming week along with a grocery list. Even if I don't use their exact menu, it's a starting point for me. That whole site is helpful!

You will often find me doing my grocery shopping on Monday or Tuesday nights. I don't necessarily enjoy taking 7 kids to the store with me, so Eric takes care of them and I get a couple of hours of "peace." Sometimes, he's still up when I come home to help unload. Otherwise...well...he's not. Oh well.

Having people over for dinner - that rarely happens. I feel like we often have people here, but it's rarely PLANNED! With the little ones and Eric's schedule, it's all we can do to make sure WE eat! Then there's the issue of how I LOVE to have people and Eric isn't quite as sociable. However, when we do have company, he is a tremendous help and loves it as much as I do. It's usually just the thought of the preparation and finding time that hinders us from this. We do MUCH better with people who "pop in" than we do in planning. Even when we plan for people to come over - it's very informal. The fellowship is good, though.

Kids activities - I try to get the kids to the library at least every other week during the school year. We have a great local library and the kids love going there. We also try to get to local museums, science centers, zoos, etc. about once/month. It's always a fun time and we all need the time out. I usually bring a young lady with us to help keep an eye on the little ones in these crowded places.

Piano lessons occur weekly. Tomorrow will be our last lesson with this particular teacher as she is expecting her 2nd baby in November and it's just going to be a bit much for her with 2 little ones of her own. We'll miss her, but now her sister, who is just as gifted, will be COMING TO OUR HOUSE to teach the oldest 4 every Friday. Unfortunately, finding time to practice is a bit difficult as it's distracting to the kids doing school when someone is banging the piano. We're working that kink out (or in?) at this point of the school year, also. Practice will probably begin at 3:00 as that is a reasonable time for everyone to be done with school and life MUST go on!

So, you're probably wondering about MY spiritual well being. Where do I find time to spend with God? I try to make sure I'm up around 5:00 in order to get myself ready for the day - spiritually and physically. I find it much easier to maintain control and have things go smoothly if I'm up and ready BEFORE the children. I'm not always successful, but it is a daily goal that I often accomplish. Unfortunately, I'm not as good about it on the weekends! If I get up too late, I try to read my Bible in the afternoon (as I did today). Just because I miss my quiet time in the morning doesn't mean I should just throw in the towel and hope for the best tomorrow. I try to find time later in the day. But, I think we all know that it's much better to meet with the Lord before the trials than it is to find time in the midst of them!

I hope this gives you a fairly clear look at our day. I would imagine it's pretty close to your reality as well. I don't usually schedule my times of tears, nagging, and frustration because they fit in our day without even trying. I'm hoping to replace more of those times with times of laughter, smiles, and play with my children.


Dave said...

You should join the Army! Or maybe you already have one of your own!

peggy randall said...

It sounds like you have a good routine going. I have wondered how you manage everything. We will keep all of you in our prayers.
aunt peggy

Janice said...

I want to know how you have time to blog! I realize, though, that it is a sanity thing! Something you can do that doesn't mess up the whole kitchen table! (think scrap booking, jewelry making, rubber stamping... all the crafts that have to wait for now!!!)

Victoria said...

You're right - other hobbies and projects take A LOT of time. I've always liked journaling, etc. so this is a great extra-curricular activity for me! :)

Jamie Parfitt said...

If you get alerts to comments even on old posts, I had to tell you I chuckled at the "tears, nagging, and frustration because they fit in our day without even trying." Wouldn't it be nice if you could set a trap for them, like you can for mice? I forget to ask God how to handle it when I am struggling to get through to one of the children, be it school or home living (such as shoes in the middle of the floor again!). He reminded me of that this morning during my prayer time. :-)

"tears, nagging, and frustration because they fit in our day without even trying."